Two children using sign language together

For many years, the deaf community and public have been behind a GCSE in British Sign Language (BSL).

It recognises the 55,000 deaf children in the UK and champions the use of the language within the education system.

Supporting deaf children to communicate with their peers and promote BSL, which will in addition improve access.

Signature, who are one of the awarding bodies for BSL training, has been involved in the creation of a GCSE in BSL for many years now.

Timeline

2015

The qualification was delivered through a successful pilot in a group of secondary schools.

2018

Daniel Jilllings, a young Deaf campaigner, gained attention of the media from 2018, when he was only 12-years old, through to now.  Sharing his story of being the only deaf child in his secondary school and unable to study his first language as a GCSE.

2018 - 2019

Discussions continued throughout 2018 and 2019.

February 2019

The Department for Education (DfE) confirmed that they will begin the task of developing a BSL GCSE.

September 2020

The Government confirmed that the work on developing a GCSE in BSL has recommenced.

Daniel Said:

“The most important thing left to do is to carry on reminding the Department for Education (DfE) that Deaf children are waiting for a GCSE in BSL.”

In a statement issued to the Limping Chicken in August 2020, a DfE spokesperson said the department is “fully committed” to making sure that children with SEND receive support in the early years, school and college.

“Schools have the freedom to include British Sign Language (BSL) in their curriculum if they wish to do so, and we are working towards a BSL GCSE, which will be introduced as soon as possible, subject to meeting GCSE requirements.”